This past season, however, has shown the tremendous potential and talent of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The young duo has elevated the Boston Celtics through an injury-riddled season and now a hard-fought overtime game 1 win against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs on Sunday.
Is acquiring Leonard, Davis or another player of that caliber worth it to the Celtics if it means losing either Brown or Tatum?
Just to remind everyone, Brown is only 21-years-old in his second year and Tatum is 20-years-old in his rookie season.
After having a decent rookie season in 2016, Jaylen Brown has significantly improved his scoring and overall game this season. Brown’s freakish athleticism also allows him to score at the rim over taller, bigger defenders.
The Celtics are a much better team when Brown is on the floor.
For Jayson Tatum, this season has been different than expected. Tatum was supposed to mainly play behind Gordon Hayward and contribute to a championship caliber team from the bench. His role this season was nearly the complete opposite. Tatum played in 80 games, averaged 30.5 minutes per contest and was the Celtics third highest scorer, behind Brown and Kyrie Irving, at 13.9 points per game, according to ESPN.com.
Brad Stevens spoke highly about his rookie last week.
“We thought that he would be able to score, you know, off of actions and insert matchups isolation-wise, early on in the league, and that he would just get better over time with continued hard work on and off the court,” Stevens said. “And I think where he exceeded my expectations was, is that he probably does that more consistently than I even imagined.”
With so much talent already on full display and booming potential lying underneath, Brown and Tatum have a bright future on the Celtics and in the NBA.
This takes us back to the aforementioned question. Would trading one of them be worth it for the Celtics?
The Celtics should not trade Tatum and Brown because they are not only younger than any tradable star, but also both have the ability to become stars in the future as well as help the Celtics win championships immediately alongside Irving and Hayward.
Now, Tatum and Brown are not better than players like Leonard or Davis. That would be a preposterous claim to argue. Nevertheless, Brown and Tatum play very well together and have a chance to be one of the best duos in the NBA, much like Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Tatum and Brown have also gone through an extremely unique experience this season. Not many rookies and second-year players are able to produce on a team looking to win now and compete for a championship when healthy. Every second on the floor is also an opportunity to improve their skill in high-pressure, impactful situations.
Tatum’s 19 points and Brown’s 20 points in Boston’s game 1 win against the Bucks on Sunday is evidence of this.
Trading away this young, fearsome duo for a current star would be a mistake by Danny Ainge.